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HMS Douglas

 

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Ships crest - HMS Douglas
HMS Douglas, Ships Crest ~ One Off Casting ~
This aluminium plaque is painted and depicts a crowned heart against a white background. This is a one off metal casting taken from the original or from the admiralty pattern book, no duplicates were made.
HMS Douglas was a Admiralty type destroyer leader class ship. It was built by Cammell Laird, laid down 30 June 1917, launched 8 June 1918 and completed 2 September 1918. The ship took part in a convoy escort during World War II, and was sold for breaking up 20 March 1945.

"SCOTT" Class Destroyer Flotilla Leader ordered from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead in the 1916-17 Build Programme in December 1916. The ship was laid down on 30th June 1917 and was launched on 8th June 1918 as the lst RN ship to carry the name, Her build was completed on 30th August 1928 and after acceptance she served briefly during WW1.

By 1921 this ship had been placed in Reserve at Rosyth and she was brought forward in 1939 manned by Reservists to attend the Royal Review of the Reserve Fleet at Weymouth and remained in commission. Her allocated War Station was with the 13th Destroyer Flotilla at Gibraltar. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in May 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of the county of Dumfries in Scotland.

Noteable events involving Douglas include:

28 Apr 1941
The German submarine U-65 was sunk in the North Atlantic south-east of Iceland in position 59º51'N, 15º30'W, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Douglas (Cdr. W.E. Banks, RN).

HMS Douglas also picks up 18 men from the British tanker Capulet that was torpedoed and damaged by the German submarine U-552 south of Iceland in position 60º16'N, 16º10'W.
HMS Douglas then tried to sink the tanker with gunfire but failed to do so.
The abandoned wreck was finally sunk on 2 May 1941 by the German submarine U-201 south of Iceland in position 60º00'N, 16º00'W.

13 Nov 1942
The British merchant Louise Moller is torpedoed and sunk about 240 miles east by south of Durban, South-Africa in position 30º50'S, 35º54'E by the German submarine U-178. HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN) later picks up 29 survivors.

31 Oct 1943
The German submarine U-732 was sunk in the mid-Atlantic near Tangier, in position 35º54'N, 05º52'W, by depth charges from the British anti-submarine trawler HMS Imperialist and the British destroyer HMS Douglas.

HMS DOUGLAS was taken in tow to the breaker’s yard at Inverkeithing near Rosyth and arrived in May 1945. This WW1 built destroyer had a particularly active service until 1943 and received little publicity. Her primary contribution was the safe and timely arrival of convoys with the 2nd Escort Group.

 

The following story is told by Roger Hill, DSO DSC, appears to relate to the October 1943 incident - a rather different version!

The Douglas was one of the Gibraltar destroyers out with us.  During the night he decided to exercise his searchlight and gun crews with a dummy alarm of a U-boat sighted on the surface.

The order was passed: 'For exercise only - repeat - for exercise purpose only'; U-boat sighted on the surface, bearing...'

Report came back: 'For exercise, searchlight ready - for exercise, guns ready'.

Next order: 'For exercise, open shutter', and the searchlight came on.  In the beam was a U-boat.

'Open fire on the U-boat'.

But the guns crew knew it was an exercise, and nothing was fired.

'Not for exercise, open fire'

'For exercise - open fire' repeated the gun, and still nothing happened.

Meanwhile the U-boat crew were busy abandoning the submarine, the last man opened the sea-cock, and the U-boat went down, gurgle, gurgle.

The captain of the Douglas sent an officer to the gun, and at last managed to get it to fire at the disappearing conning tower.

The Douglas' captain said he aged several years trying to get those damned guns to fire, and would never exercise anything again.

HMS Douglas
HMS Douglas in Malta in 1937

See also:

  • Ships named Douglas
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    Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017